Group reacts to Northwest Philly officials backing Kenney with pro-Williams ‘set the record straight’ event

 Mayoral candidate Jim Kenney was endorsed by elected officials in Northwest Philadelphia last week. A different group will endorse Anthony Hardy Williams on Thursday. (NewsWorks, file art)

Mayoral candidate Jim Kenney was endorsed by elected officials in Northwest Philadelphia last week. A different group will endorse Anthony Hardy Williams on Thursday. (NewsWorks, file art)

When a group of African American elected officials from Northwest Philadelphia threw their support behind mayoral candidate Jim Kenney, some viewed it as a noteworthy adjustment to the city’s racial-math political equation.

But some residents in the city’s Northwest neighborhoods including William R. Miller IV saw it as an event which stifled their public voices.

That helps explain why Miller is among the “neighbors and friends of the Northwest coalition” who will host a Thursday morning press conference to “set the record straight” that those endorsements “do not represent the sentiments of the total Northwest community.”

The 11 a.m. event, which will be held at the Mt. Airy Church of God (6400 Ogontz Ave.), will double as an endorsement for Anthony Hardy Williams, the mayoral candidate who has already hosted a show of support perceived to be in response to last week’s activity in West Oak Lane.

“We want to let people know that what the political leaders have done is share their personal opinions but those are not necessarily reflective of the community’s,” Miller told NinetyNine on Wednesday morning. “It’s also to lend our support to Anthony Hardy Williams. We believe he is much more in tune with our area’s independent nature that’s such an important part of our political history.

“They’re not speaking for us, and it’s stirred a lot of concern among people. It’s inconsistent with what we’ve been building. … I like Jim Kenney. I’ve always gotten along with him. But when it comes to 40 years of struggle for black political independence, he wasn’t a part of that.”

While Miller was loathe to predict a crowd size, a press release about the event notes that “members of the original NW alliance, neighbors, members of labor and clergy” are expected to attend.

Williams discussed Kenney’s endorsement during a recent interview with NinetyNine. He said:

I do think, and I will push you on this, some people did come to me and ask about the Northwest. Beyond politics, the consequence is politics. People in that area are independent voters and I expect we’ll do well.

What I’m shocked at, well, surprised at, not the politics, the coverage, they went straight to race. I was like ‘wow.’ Because some elected black people support an elected white person that they have a relationship with, that translates into changing the racial formula?

I don’t think it’s going to be as simple as ‘he’s the labor guy, I’m the black guy and she’s the prosecutor.’ It’s not as simple as that.

The Kenney campaign didn’t want to comment about the event when contacted early Wednesday afternoon.

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